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Thinking about KM differently

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Moving to a supply chain mentality simply means that organizations from top to bottom need to move away from siloed mindsets. In the world of tech, we talk a lot about data and information silos, and how to consolidate, eliminate, and migrate them. But data silos are just the visible symptoms of siloed thinking. Every business analyst and management consultant has seen how siloed most organizations are. Each department, team, or division is interested only in its own goals and daily demands. That is not how organizations are supposed to work; each should contribute to the whole and prepare and hand-off work that enhances the next step of the process. Think of it this way: Almost every organization is part of a supply chain, be it in the legal, healthcare, or an energy sector. Multiple steps (links) are required to set tasks and then hand the completed work to the next link in the chain. It's logical and essential, but it is a significant shift in thinking for most employees, supervisors, or managers.

Moving to a push rather than a pull mentality simply means that we now have the technology to tag, manage, and interpret information automatically and near instantly—automatically pushing the right information to the right person (or application) at the right time. What's more is that technology such as machine learning and AI typically do a much better job of tagging, categorizing, and managing information than humans are capable of doing. The technology goes further and spots relevant patterns and connections in disparate data that, arguably, no human ever could. KM technology on the market today automates almost every step of the process (though humans are still required) from capturing, reading, and categorizing information to analyzing connections, patterns, and trends, and then pushing data to the right place at the right time.

Adoption of a push mentality is eminently doable today—though, in fairness, it's not cheap and can take a lot of work to teach the system and implement it. Even so, it's available, and it works. Furthermore, as it's driven by machine learning, it gets better and better all by itself over time. Shifting the mindset of your organization from silos to a more holistic approach is a much tougher hill to climb. But both are essential; new technologies will give a massive boost to KM practices and make possible a degree of control and insight previously impossible. But siloed organizational thinking, be it at the individual or corporate level, combined with the symptoms of that approach manifesting itself in disconnected data and information silos, does nothing but put both regular and irregular speed bumps in the way of adoption and success.

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